Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida (Arachnids)
Order: Araneae (Spiders)
Infraorder: Araneomorphae (True Spiders)
Family: Theridiidae (Cobweb Spiders)

Genus/species: Latrodectus mactans

Black Widow Spider

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Female is glossy, coal-black color with long, slender legs and round abdomen; her underside usually carries a characteristic red hourglass mark. Adult Female: Approximately 8-13 mm (~1/2 inch) in body length. With legs extended, the female measures about 25-35 mm (1 inch – 1 1/2 inches). Adult Male: Approximately half the size of the female

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: In the U.S. ranges north to New England, south to Florida, Texas, Oklahoma; west to California, and throughout the southwest deserts. Also found in Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, and South America. Found close to the ground, especially dark, sheltered spots, such as under stones, in woodpiles, crevices, barns, outbuildings. Usually not found indoors.

DIET IN THE WILD: Carnivorous, mostly on insects, but also on other small invertebrates. When prey becomes ensnared in the web, black widow wraps it in silken threads and injects venom.

PREDATORS: Probably lives, like most spiders, about one year. Preyed upon by wasps including the muddauber wasps.

Black Widow Spider

REMARKS: Adult males are harmless. Females have a highly venomous bite that rarely kills humans, though young children or the elderly are likely to have severe reactions that can be fatal. Improvements in plumbing have greatly reduced the incidence of bites and fatalities in areas where outdoor privies have been replaced by indoor flush toilets.

Swamp SW06

WordPress Shortlink